Ph.D., Columbia University, 1969 "Evolution of Phacops rana"
A specialist in mid-Paleozoic phacopid trilobites, Dr. Eldredge, along with colleagues at Rochester and Harvard, formulated a theory challenging Darwin's premise that evolution occurs gradually. Their theory, known as Punctuated Equilibrium, asserts that evolution occurs in dramatic spurts interspersed with long periods of stasis. Dr. Eldredge has also analyzed the relationship between global extinctions of the geologic past and the present-day biodiversity crisis, as well as the general relationship between extinction and evolution.
Today, he continues to seek integration of repeated patterns in the history of life with evolutionary theory through scientific research. He has convened a "working group" of geneticists, ecologists, and paleobiologists at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, to pursue these goals-with evolutionary stasis being the first topic addressed.
Dr. Eldredge has embarked on a major program to compare patterns and processes of biological and material cultural evolution, using his extensive database on the manufactured diversity of cornetfishes.
He also is writing a book on evolutionary psychology.
Recent Significant Publications
Eldredge, N. "Human Triangles: Genes, Sex and Economics in Human Evolution." In Evolutionary Psychology: Alternative Approaches, ed. S. J. Scher and F. S. Rauscher. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press (in press/2002).
Eldredge, N. "A Hard Sell: The Cultural-Ecological Context of Reintroducing Wolves to the Adirondacks." In Wolves and Human Communities: Biology, Politics and Ethics, ed. V. A. Sharpe, B. Norton, and S. Donnelley, 275-284. Washington, D.C., and Covelo, California: Island Press, 2001.
Eldredge, N. "The Nature and Origin of Supraspecific Taxa Revisited-with Special Reference to Trilobita." In Fossils, Phylogeny and Form: An Analytical Approach, ed. J. Adrain, G. E. Edgecombe, and B. S. Lieberman, 1-35. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press, 2001.
Eldredge, N. "The Sloshing Bucket: How the Physical Realm Controls Evolution." In Towards a Comprehensive Dynamics of Evolution: Exploring the Interplay of Selection, Neutrality, Accident, and Function, ed. J. Crutchfield and P. Schuster. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Eldredge, N. The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism. New York: Nevraumont Publishing/W.H. Freeman and Co., 2001.
Eldredge, N. "Biological and Material Cultural Evolution: Are There Any True Parallels?" Perspectives in Ethology 13 (2000): 113-153.
Eldredge, N. The Pattern of Evolution. New York: W. H. Freeman and Co., 1999.
Eldredge, N. "Cretaceous Meteor Showers, The Human Ecological 'Niche,' and the Sixth Extinction." In Extinctions in Near Time: Causes, Contexts, and Consequences, ed. R. D. E. MacPhee, 1-15. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press, 1999.
Other Professional Honors